Leicestershire’s Falcons Black’s final home game of the season was against Worcester Reds (14/04/13).
The team had a new pairing at the back with Issy Beighton partnering Jodie Gibson – an exciting netballer who also plays for Loughborough Lightning. Worcester Reds took an early lead off Falcons Black’s centre pass when the away team’s Wing Defence (WD) and Goal Defence (GD) applied enough pressure to force Falcons Black into making an inaccurate pass. However, Falcons Black hit back and applied pressure of their own through the court – their attacking strategy being to look after the ball to goal with clean options. The strategy worked and Worcester Reds led by just a solitary goal at quarter time (11-10).
No changes were made by either side for the second quarter. Still, the East Midlands team knew they had to be more clinical with their final ball into the shooters and that everyone needed to be strong in defence if they were to slow the Worcester play up enough to set up potential interception opportunities. Knowing what to do, Falcons Black started the quarter strongest and took the first five goals. Then both teams began to cancel each other out as both sides made vital interceptions in the through-court-play – Falcons Black’s Jodie Gibson (Goal Defence, GD) and Sofija Djukic (Wing Defence, WD) and Worcester Red’s WD and GD especially getting the best of their opponents. Both teams put in really good displays of netball but Falcons Black just edged it 10-9 to go into half time twenty goals apiece.
The match went goal-for-goal for the first eight minutes of the third quarter, with Falcons Black being quick to attack and create options through the court whenever they created turnovers. Sofija Djukic and Jodie Gibson continued to drive the ball up through the centre court and Charlotte Roye and Helen Hancock really started to work well in the circle and triangle play, linking nicely with Katie Flaherty and Kaylea McQuade to open up the space. However with seven minutes left in the quarter the tables turned and Falcons Black began to miss key shots. Worcester Reds seized on their opportunity, using their defence to bring the ball up through the centre court, to link well with their attack. This opened up the space they needed to get a stronger grip on the quarter, which they took 10 goals to 5 (Overall score: Falcons Black 25-30 Worcester Reds).
Anna Mulderrig (Wing Defence, WD) was brought on for Falcons Black for the last quarter. With a fresh pair of legs, the team looked to challenge Worcester Reds at every opportunity. Both teams made a great start scoring off their own centre passes. Falcons Black were creating space and linking well through court, supporting each other whenever they could and most importantly scoring the necessary goals. However, one error by the home team allowed Worcester Reds to break away and score. Both teams dug deep and maintained their own centre passes for the remainder of the quarter, which ultimately meant that the home team couldn’t close the gap anymore and the match ended Falcons Black 32-38 Worcester Reds (quarter score: Falcons Black 7-8 Worcester Reds).
Although the team lost, the performance that Falcons Black put out was a very strong one. There was also a real sense that everyone was supporting each other, both on and off the court. This team spirit will stand Falcons Black in good stead as they prepare for their last few away matches of the season.
The Player of the match went to a well-deserved Jodie Gibson.
Charlotte Roye, Goal Shooter (GS); Helen Hancock, Goal Attack (GA); Katie Flaherty, Wing Attack (WA); Kaylea McQuade, Centre (C); Sofija Djukic, Wing Defence (WD); Jodie Gibson, Goal Defence (GD); Issy Beighton, Goal Keeper (GK)
Substitutes: Anna Mulderrig and Dominique McKee.
Coach/Player: Kaylea McQuade
Assistant Coach/Team Manager: Donna Swann